Natural Disasters Reveal the Limits of Human Control

By Richard Young | Posted May 29, 2024

Those who have experienced flooding know first-hand the devastating power of water. 

It happened recently in the most unlikely of places. Dozens were killed—including 10 children when their bus was swept away by floodwaters. Roads were washed out, houses and buildings were destroyed, entire villages were isolated, and the world’s second-busiest airport was shut down because its runways looked like ponds.

But things like this happen whenever flooding occurs, right?

Well, this flooding didn’t occur in flood-prone places like Florida and Louisiana. It happened, instead, in the Persian Gulf! You know—the hot, arid desert kingdoms known for being composed of millions of square miles of sand.

Among the nations hit were Iran, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia—not places that we expect to be underwater. Yet they were inundated this April with record levels of rain that led to historic flooding. 

If Saudi Arabia can flood—who is safe?


In between endless reports about Ukraine and Gaza and the coming U.S. elections, you might have noticed the many weather incidents striking all around the world—lots of them.

Just a few of the recent headlines about tornadoes in the United States alone should make the point: 

More than 70 reported tornadoes touched down across nearly 15 states over Memorial Day weekend, leaving at least 24 people dead.”

“Since April 26, the U.S. has experienced 18 killer tornadoes in which 36 people have died. Half the victims were in mobile homes.”

Swarms of tornadoes have been tearing across the United States for nearly a month straight. … It’s been the most active May for severe weather since 2011 and has featured violent tornadoes, a 100-mph downburst that tore through Houston, and even hail larger than grapefruits.”

In December 2021, a couple’s home in Kentucky was destroyed by a tornado, which also killed 81 people. Shockingly, a recent tornado ripped through the same property, destroying their home again!


Besides the devastating floods in the Persian Gulf, parts of Africa have recently been hit by deadly storms and flooding. According to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, “Months of heavy rain due to seasonal monsoons and rainy seasons have led to flooding (both riverine and flash flooding), deaths and displacement in several East African countries. … At least 1.6 million people have been affected, 473 have died and more than 410,000 have been displaced.”

The United States has also been hit with a lot of flooding this year. In the Gulf Coast states, “double-digit rainfall totals between 20 and 30 inches over the region in recent weeks have soaked the ground and left rivers swollen, priming the flood threat to extreme levels.” Some communities are already under water. 

There are more examples:

Severe flooding wreaks havoc across northern Europe.

“Massive floods threaten tens of millions as intense rains batter southern China.”

Heavy rains return to southern Brazil, flooding even higher ground in Porto Alegre.”

Heavy rains can also produce devastating landslides—like the one that occurred on May 24 in Papua New Guinea. It is estimated that more than 2,000 people were buried alive.

Our Destiny

A four-day weather forecast in 2024 is as accurate as a one-day forecast 30 years ago. And with “the revolutionary impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) on meteorology,” scientists are now developing even more accurate methods to help people avoid destructive weather. Yet despite our continued advancements in meteorology, weather-related fatalities are not decreasing—a reminder that we cannot control our destiny.

Our temporal destiny, that is. 

Although our earthly life may be affected by a planet that is “[growing] old like a garment” (Isaiah 51:6), our eternal destiny depends entirely on our own choice. As Joshua said to the Israelites on the border of the Promised Land, “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15). 

Yet many Christians still follow the Calvinistic model of salvation, which teaches that God makes the choice for you. And if He doesn’t—eternal hell is your destiny! Such theology is based on a misinterpretation of some of Jesus’ statements in the Gospel of John and some of Paul’s statements in the Book of Romans.

What the Bible clearly teaches is that “the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11). If salvation wasn’t for all, then God would be acting contrary to the description of Himself in Deuteronomy 10:17: “The LORD your God is … the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe” (emphasis added). 

Think about it. Why would God command us to “not show partiality in judgment” (1:17) if He did the opposite when judging sinners?

To learn more about Calvinism, read Pastor Doug’s article “Once Saved, Always Saved?

Richard Young
Richard Young is a writer for Amazing Facts International and other online and print publications.

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